Live Review: Sui Zhen + Rainbow Chan + Carry Nation – The Grace Darling, Melbourne (19.01.12)

Sitting down cross legged at a gig is really weird, especially in a pub. I know there are those experimental gigs in warehouses where sitting crossed legged down is a pre-requisite, but why sit on beer soaked carpet? Regardless, I like hanging out with people who like to chill, and I can try to chill, at least in my own gangly way. So I go to the bar and pour water for myself in a small little cup and sit down with most of the crowd before my leg falls asleep and nearly kills me via pins and needles.

While I was flopping around trying to make myself comfortable, Carry Nation played some twee tunes with a twist. Carry had been saying that nearly all of her subjects were quite morbid, which made for a fascinating juxtaposition of style and meaning. Performing these songs in a chilled, relaxed type of cool air also gave a fascinating aura about her which was strangely unique.

Rainbow Chan became yet another right-angle union of sounds. I loved how she bopped around the stage, swinging from side-to-side as odd loops and kooky sounds flew about from left to right in The Grace Darling’s PA system. A lot of her set was all kinds of beautiful, but it was one song that had me thinking. It was a strange cover of The Cardigans’ “Lovefool”, simply for the dissonant sounds underneath her vocal line. Thinking about it after the set though, it weirdly worked because it was so devoid of conventional tributes. It then got me thinking about the impact one song could have in a set, which freaked me out really because I always thought a set should be about the total of songs played, but this one particular cover just moved me, as corny as that sounds.

There was nothing peculiar about Sui Zhen either, only cuteness while she and her band started her set. She had a wonderful connection with the crowd with her witty banter (the crowd themselves being all starry eyed towards her said nothing, being attentive as I have ever seen a crowd). Her striking pop music remained simple and short. It was delectable to hear such cute attitude to music. The single which we were here to celebrate, “Little Frog” was so adorable it actually made me feel weirder about my masculinity which is slowly peeling away with every gig of this kind that I go to.

Nothing more cute and sweet could be asked for from Sui Zhen. A nice faux-remedy for my dead leg if there ever was one.

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